Archives For Game Recap

Sometimes, it’s better to just post a highlight and celebrate a win.

To recap the play above, the Lakers, down one, ran their weave action to set up a play that was designed for Lou Williams. Nick Young, though, worked his way back to the ball, stepped in front of the pass to Lou, stole it, then fired a fading 25 footer that he drilled. Yes, that happened.

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So it was really cool to see Tim Duncan and David Robinson duel it out with Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant… wait a minute. Let me start over.

The Lakers fell short against the Spurs, 116-107. But it’s not like the Lakers laid down against the very strong San Antonio Spurs. Even when the Spurs shot lights out, the Lakers once again showed their fighting spirit. And every team that has gone against them has to be frustrated that this young team just won’t go away.

The team didn’t exactly get off to a sparkling start; they fell behind, 9-0, and wouldn’t score their first basket until about four minutes into the game. They seemed out of sorts with D’Angelo Russell not playing (a late scratch with a sore knee). Jose Calderon started to not upset Luke Walton’s regular rotations and he played 13 minutes and scored five points. San Antonio led by as many as 13 points in the first half before Lou Williams, Luol Deng, and Nick Young provided the offense the Lakers needed. While the Spurs were making nearly everything, the young Lakers forced some turnovers (Spurs had 9 of their 12 turnovers in the first half) to make up for it. They would eventually tie the game at 52 after two quarters.

But the Spurs couldn’t stop missing. San Antonio made 11 straight field goals and went on a 12-0 surge. They would lead the Lakers by 17 early in the fourth. L.A. wouldn’t die, though, as they cut the lead down to 5 with seven minutes left.

LaMarcus Aldridge (23 points) would land haymakers on the Lakers as he made three straight buckets. A Kawhi Leonard (23-12-7) three would boost the lead to 11. But back-to-back threes by Nick Young and Jordan Clarkson quickly cut the deficit to five (a Julius Randle foul shot would cut it to four). San Antonio would have the last laugh, though, as Tony Parker (who went old-school with 16 points and 7 assists) made a clutch jumper to boost the lead from four to six. That’s some TP for your bunghole.

It’s encouraging for the Lakers to play like this, even in a loss. The Spurs shot 56 percent (Lakers were under 45 percent) from the field and dissected the Lakers defense with their trademark passing; they had 30 dimes in the game. But the Lakers fought back every single time (until time ran out), seemingly getting every loose ball and making a counterpunch when they were in the corner. The Lakers outboarded the Spurs, 45-34, and pummeled them on the offensive boards, 15-3. Lakers also won the battle in paint scoring, 36-28, since the Spurs don’t have great interior defense anymore. But the Spurs just overwhelmed them with their smarts and experience.

I can’t say enough on how good Lou Williams and Nick Young have been this season. Williams wasn’t all that great defensively but his quick and efficient scoring (24 points) made up for it. Young made some big shots and had 22 points. Clarkson had a big second half and had 20 points overall. Luol Deng played his best ball as a Laker in the first half (10 points then but nothing after). Julius Randle put in a quiet 13-9-7 line.

It’s the same ol’ slow start for the Lakers but also the same ol’ strong finish. A lot had to go right for the Lakers to beat the Spurs and they nearly did it. Can’t say enough about their fighting spirit.

Let’s see if that fight carries over for the 7-6 Lakers in their next game against the hot Chicago Bulls on Sunday at Staples.

The Lakers moved to 7-5 on the season with a 125-118 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday. The win wasn’t pretty, but it counts the same in the standings. Standings, which I might add, are something fans of the team are actively watching for the first time in 3 seasons for reasons which have nothing to do with the status of owed draft picks or lottery positioning.

The game itself was a mix of highlights, pensive tension due to a scrappy Nets team, and fast paced action. The game offered roughly 110 possessions, which is even a lot for two teams who love to get up and down and a ton for just a regular NBA game. Within that breakneck tempo, there wasn’t always the highest caliber of basketball — especially defensively — but there was plenty to cheer about from both teams.

From the Lakers side, much of that adulation goes out to D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle.

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In the big picture, if you would have told me the Lakers would go 2-1 on their 3 game road trip I would have taken it happily and not even thought twice about it. I think it important to remind myself of that right now because the Lakers’ 125-99 loss to the Wolves was as ugly as the score implies. In fact, it might have been worse.

As I wrote in my game preview, I thought there might be a chance the Lakers came out sluggish and that’s what happened. The starting group wasn’t just flat, they were slow in pretty much everything they did. Slow in getting into their sets, in moving the ball, in setting screens, in closing out on shooters, in rotating to protect the paint. The result was an early hole for the bench to try to dig out of.

Typically, that’s not an issue for the Lakers’ reserves, but this game they weren’t able to really get anything going either — at least consistently. They did have a nice spurt in the 2nd quarter where they were able to apply some defensive pressure, get some stops, and then get some baskets on the other end. For that brief stint, it looked like it was going to be business as usual but then things dried up again which allowed the Wolves to take control back and close the half with a run.

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Guys, I am recapping a game where the Lakers nearly won by 30 points this season. It’s weird. But also cool. The Lakers smashed the Pelicans, 126-99.

And yeah, they did have a little bit of luck on this. I will be the first to tell you that injuries are awful. Anthony Davis basically did whatever he wanted against L.A. on the offensive end. And then he hurt his back in the third quarter when the Lakers were barely up, 63-62. The Lakers did what they had to do; they took advantage and rolled for 14 straight points. The Pelicans looked lost when they lost the Brow. Davis would eventually come back but he wasn’t fully mobile and the Lakers kept their foot on the gas pedal.

The Lakers ball movement was exquisite the entire night; the Pelicans couldn’t catch up to the basketball. They also took care of the ball, too, as they only had 10 turnovers. They made the right decisions in terms of when to attack the basket, when to shoot, and when to make the extra pass or two. All in all, the Lakers went for 36 assists (tied a season high in the NBA this season). And not only did they keep the ball moving but they converted their open shots. 55.3 percent shooting overall for L.A. and 53.3 percent (16 for 30) from behind the arc.

Lou Williams and Nick Young (15 points) had a surge in the second quarter that put them up eight. That’s another thing I never thought I would say this season, either. Brandon Ingram had nine points in the second quarter. He would eventually leave the game with a sprained ankle but, by all accounts, he should be fine for tomorrow’s game. Julius Randle nearly had a triple-double (8-11-8). Jordan Clarkson, Lou, and D’Angelo Russell all had over 20 points. And the frontcourt of Tarik Black, Timofey Mozgov, Larry Nance, and Thomas Robinson all had good moments in the game. We’re still waiting for Luol Deng to break out with a really good game; let’s hope it’s sooner than later. Still, I love that there’s little to no dropoff when the Lakers go to the bench; the non-starters scored 73 points tonight!

The Lakers have now won five of six games and they head to Minnesota as they play the Timberwolves tomorrow (who are currently playing the Clippers right now). It should be a fun game between two young and exciting teams. Get your popcorn or pizza rolls ready.

It’s early but it’s been a crazy season thus far for the Lakers. And when I say crazy, I mean it in a very good way. 6-4. Who would’ve thought?

Luke Walton was not happy after Thursday’s game against the Kings. That might seem odd considering the way his team rallied in the 2nd half, holding the Kings to 36 points over the final two periods to win the game 101-91. He was not protesting the way his team closed, of course, but rather the way they played to dig themselves the hole — at one point they trailed by as many as 19 — to need that type of 2nd half performance in the first place.

This is what Walton is trying to teach and just as lessons can be learned from losses, they also can from wins. Walton did not demean his players or question their manhood, but he did let them know coming out with lackluster energy or attention to detail is not who they want to be as a team. He drilled that lesson after a W and I’m sure he was happy to be able to do so. But, and I’ve harped on this all season, Walton is clearly coaching for something bigger than wins this season (even if wins clearly matter to him — more on that later). He’s coaching to instill his team with the right mindset, the right habits, to have them truly turn the corner and become competitive over the long haul.

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FIGHTING SPIRIT. They just keep doing it.

After a letdown against the Mavericks at home, the Lakers have won four of their last five games as they made an impressive comeback against the Kings in Sacramento, 101-91. The thing is… it really looked bleak early on.

The Lakers looked like they would either watch paint dry or watch leaves fall from a tree. They looked lethargic, fatigued, and a step slower in the first half. The young guns had 12 turnovers. Sactown took advantage; nobody seemed to be able to stop DeMarcus Cousins. He scored 18 of his 28 points in the first half. The Lakers were down as many as 19 points before they had a late surge to close out the half.

D’Angelo Russell, who looked indecisive in the first 24 minutes, caught a bit of fire as he scored eight of his 17 points in the first six minutes of the third. The Lakers did a much better job guarding Boogie as Timofey Mozgov got more physical and they did timely double-teams. In about a nine-minute stretch between the third and the fourth, the Kings only scored two points. Boogie finally did come alive in the fourth quarter but by that time, it was too late. After a deadlock at 82, the Lakers broke away with a 10-0 run that was led by Lou Williams and Nick Young. Sweet Lou scored 13 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter and continues to be that incredible veteran presence. And the resurrection of Nick Young continues. He continues to put a lot of effort on the defensive end. Swaggy P scored the last five points of that aforementioned 10-0 run that pretty much put the game out of reach. He scored 12 of his 16 points in the second half.

I know Luke Walton is still figuring out his rotations as the season goes on. It definitely helped that Larry Nance, Jr. came back for this game after he passed the concussion protocol (who, by the way, did his role as the energy guy off the bench with seven boards). But I like that Luke stayed with the hot guys. The line-up that the Lakers had during the closing stretch was Mozgov, Brandon Ingram (his length bothered the Kings on the boards and on defense), Julius Randle (he still continues to attack; he had 15 and 8), Lou Will, and Nick. I know most coaches would go back to his regular starters but I thought it was a great decision for Walton to stick with the line-up that got them the lead. And it was so encouraging to see all the other guys cheer for the team. Guys, they are so so much fun.

The Lakers did end with 21 turnovers; that is an extremely high number. And I would like it if they could get off to better starts in the game. But I like that the Lakers never stop playing; they have been in every game by the fourth quarter this season. The fight never stops with them and it is so much appreciated by the coaching staff and the fans.

They will face the New Orleans Pelicans next in Louisiana. Those birds just got their first win earlier today so they’re going to be hungry to extend that marvelous one-game winning streak.

The baby Lakers are 5-4. Over .500 after nine games. Quite a pleasant surprise.

I’m going to keep this brief because, well, I just am.

The Lakers went for their 4th straight victory on Tuesday night, but fell short against the Mavs. The game itself was a back and forth affair and one where the Lakers found themselves “in it” until the end. If going down a certain road of analysis, this is a good sign. This team competes and finds a way to either hang around or be in control long enough to make wins possible. In some games they’ve pulled it out, in others they haven’t.

Tuesday was one of those nights and there’s nothing wrong with that, really. This team was projected to win around 27 games this year. The expectation, then, should be that more often than not Tuesday’s result will be the default, not the exception.

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